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Wensleydale Creamery (Hawes)
Member Name: shelley222
Wensleydale Creamery (Hawes)
Date: 25/09/01, updated on 25/09/01 (966 review reads)
Advantages: good admission charges, can sample the produce
Disadvantages: may spend too much in the shop
In 1897 Mr Edward Chapman, a corn and provisions merchant of Hawes, began to purchase milk from surrounding farms to use for the manufacture of Wensleydale cheese on a larger scale. The industrial depression of the 1930s made trading conditions difficult and Mr Chapman's dairy was facing closure
The Wensleydale farmers were offered contracts by the Milk Marketing Board to take dales milk to a national dairy miles away. The farmers were adamant that the Hawes dairy should continue, and they found a leader of their cause in Kit Calvert.
In 1935 Kit Calvert called a meeting and gathered enough support to rescue the dairy.
In 1966 the Milk Marketing Board recognised the potential and purchased Wensleydale Creamery. In May 1992 Dairy Crest, a subsidiary of the Milk Marketing Board, closed the Hawes creamery, the only one in the dale, and transferred production of Wensleydale cheese to Lancashire!
The ex-managers took up the fight and, against the odds, eventually persuaded the owners to sell the creamery to them. A buy-out was agreed in November 1992 and the rest as they say is history.
Today visitors can peruse the Creamery at their leisure, sampling the local produce as they go. Although the creamery is not very big there is enough going on to keep you amused for a few hours and there is also a restaurant, café and shop where you can purchase what you have seen being made.
The museum portrays the history of the Wensleydale cheese, way back to its humble beginnings. You can also choose to watch a video which goes in-depth into the processes involved in the production of the cheese.
THE VIEWING GALLERY
This centre opened in July 1994 and here you can watch milk being converted into cheese. Because this is a traditional cheese room – everything is done by hand and is fascinating to see how the cheeses are individually made, moulded and then wrapped in muslin, the same way it would have been done centuries ago. Please note though that they only make the cheese between 10.00am and 3.00pm.
The restaurant is what was formerly the butter making room and is now a large and relaxing place to eat. The restaurant is fully licensed and serves a good selection of meals, snacks and drinks for the whole family. Special diets are catered for and so are the children. It offers a waitress service and some good old fashioned hospitality. It can seat up to 120.
A good range of hot and cold drinks as well as snacks are available here. The hot chocolate I must add is heaven on earth here, as is the locally produced ice-cream.
THE CHEESE SHOP
Offers a good range of quality cheeses for you to purchase with many of the items being suitable for giving as gifts. Here you can sample Wensleydale cheese in all it’s various forms for yourself before you decide to purchase. They also sell a range of books, badges, pencils etc..
HOW TO GET THERE
The Creamery is situated just off the A684 about a mile away from Hawes and is well signposted.
Monday to Saturday 9.30am to 5.00pm
Sunday 10.00am to 4.30pm
Open every day except Christmas Day.
Children £1.50 (under 16s)
Family Ticket £6.50 (2 adults and up
to 3 children)
There is ample free parking.
Wensleydale Dairy Products
Telephone: 01969 667664
Fax: 01969 667638
I have to say that although the Creamery is a wonderfully interesting place to visit, don't expect to be able to fill in the whole day here. There is enough to see and do however and the best thing is the staff - they really do have an enormous sense of pride in their work and this shows through in their attitude towards visitors. Children are especially catered for, for example my daughter who was only 5 years old at the time, could not see very well in the viewing gallery but before I knew it a kind member of staff had fetched along a stool for her to stand on and ushered her to the front so that she had a prime viewing position. Not many other places would be this considerate and because of small touches such as this, we will definately be visiting again.